06:22 GMT +320 September 2019
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    U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., listens to a constituent in Wixom, Mich., Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019.

    World Jewish Congress Slams Rashida Tlaib's HBO Show Boycott as 'Outrageous'

    Paul Sancya
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    The World Jewish Congress (WJC) announced that it is deeply disturbed that US Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib suggested a boycott of Bill Maher’s HBO show, comparing the move to Nazi-era boycotts of Jewish-owned businesses.

    “It is outrageous that Tlaib, who has repeatedly deployed anti-Semitic tropes, would promote the boycott of the only democracy in the Middle East and the one nation that fully respects human rights and guarantees freedom for Muslims, Christian and Jews. Serious questions need to be asked about Tlaib’s motivation in supporting the extremist BDS Movement, which is allied with terrorists and is not shy about its ultimate aim of destroying Israel", WJC president Ronald S. Lauder said in a statement.

    Tlaib earlier slammed Bill Maher’s HBO show over his recent criticism of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, calling the organization "a bullshit purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class".

    Tlaib tweeted late Saturday that viewers boycott the program.

    “Maybe folks should boycott his show. I am tired of folks discrediting a form of speech that is centered on equality and freedom. This is exactly how they tried to discredit & stop the boycott to stand up against the apartheid in S. Africa. It didn't work then and it won't now", Tlaib said.

    The WJC president suggested that the WJC "fully supports the constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech and has borne witness to the historic horrors associated with boycotts and the suppression of free speech. Adolf Hitler infamously boycotted Jewish-owned businesses and worked to ban those in the entertainment and media industries who were critical of the Nazi party. After annexing Austria in 1938, Hitler quickly targeted for censure the Kabarett satirical reviews renowned for their expression of independent thought. We Jews know what boycotts can lead to. We find it concerning that a member of the U.S. Congress would lobby for BDS and so easily suggest that Maher’s show should be boycotted simply because he expressed an opinion with which she disagrees".

    On Thursday, Tel Aviv said Tlaib and US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who were due to visit the country next week, were barred from entry because of their support for a Palestinian-lead boycott movement.

    Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri later satisfied a request made by Tlaib to allow her entry on humanitarian grounds, so that she would be able to visit her grandmother, who lives in the West Bank.

    However, the access was contingent upon Tlaib's agreement to not voice her political opinions about Israel and "respect the restrictions imposed on her" and promise "not to advance boycotts against Israel during her visit".

    Earlier, Tlaib tweeted that she would not visit her grandmother "under these oppressive conditions" set by the Israeli government, whom she accused of "racist policies".

    US President Donald Trump warned that Israel would show "great weakness" if it allowed the two congresswomen to visit the country. US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, said Washington supported the decision. 

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    Tags:
    Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Israel, Boycott, show, HBO, World Jewish Congress, Rashida Tlaib
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